Career Resources for Students with Disabilities
We at the Cawley Career Education Center are committed to helping students with visible and non-visible disabilities find gainful and satisfying employment. To this end, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you, which we hope will help with questions you may have about disclosure, accommodations and your legal rights. This list is by no means exhaustive. We’ve also provided some sites where you can begin your search for a job or internship. Finally, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our career counselors or industry advisors. We are here to assist you with every step of this process.
Meet with a Staff Member
Call or stop by the career center’s front desk to schedule an appointment with one of our staff members who can work with you to explore career opportunities.
- Career counseling is a collaborative and confidential space where you can work with a counselor to clarify goals while exploring your values, interests, skills, and personality. A counselor can support you through the decision-making process as you apply to internships, consider graduate school, and develop a plan for moving forward.
- Industry advising appointments help you explore internship and job opportunities in a variety of fields including: health and sciences, law, government, nonprofit, business, education, technology, and creative areas such as marketing, journalism, media and entertainment.
How to Get Experience
The best way to prepare for life after graduation is to find experiences that will allow you to develop skills you can apply in the workplace. Whether it is a paid or unpaid position, it is important to choose experiences that help you explore your interests and fit with your career goals.
Skill-building experiences may include the following activities:
- community organizing
- academic projects
- shadowing professionals
- part-time positions
- leadership roles in student groups
- study abroad
Come to one of our career workshops, visit us for a drop-in appointment, or meet with a staff member to learn how to communicate the value of your experiences through your application materials (resume, cover letter, writing sample, or personal statement), in an interview, or as you network.
Connect to Alumni and Other Professionals
Start by asking friends, family members, professors, and classmates if they know people they can connect you with. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people you find through Georgetown connections and social media, even if you haven’t met before. Check out our sample email that you can adapt when contacting potential connections.
- Alumni: You can connect with Georgetown alumni through a variety of online tools. Hoya Gateway and the Alumni Career Network allow you to find alums who have volunteered to be a resource for you. You’ll find thousands of alums with similar interests and skills as you at Georgetown’s alumni page on LinkedIn. In addition, alumni come to campus to meet students like you during networking events throughout the academic year. Check in regularly with your event calendars to stay on top of what is happening on campus.
- Professional Associations and Affinity Groups: Most professional associations offer student memberships at a discount, and memberships usually come with access to programs such as speaker events or job fairs. You can search for professional associations using the Directory of Associations. Some are specific to certain cultural groups while others will have diversity divisions. Employers may also organize affinity groups for their employees in order to provide a space for business and social inclusion.
- Mentoring: If you form a strong connection with someone, such as an alumna or other professional, you may consider asking her to be your mentor. Read these tips on choosing a mentor.
Disclosing Your Status to Employers
It can be confusing and stressful to decide when and with whom to share your status. Throughout the job search and hiring process it is important to provide information that is true and authentic, however, you ultimately get to decide whether or not to share your status. Come in to talk with a staff member about strategies for disclosing your status at different points in the process.
You may decide to share your status with an organization early in the hiring process or in an interview if you feel comfortable doing so, and to start a discussion about how to move forward in the process. It is important to consider who you would want to disclose to (sharing with a recruiter vs. a supervisor) and in what manner (disclosing in a personal statement for grad school vs. in an interview). Information is available on disclosure—including tips on when, how and to whom—on the U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy page. If you are unsure about whether and how to disclose your status, we invite you to meet with one of the career center’s career counselors to discuss further.
Evaluating Employers on Whether They Honor Diversity
To find out if an employer has created an inclusive work environment, consider some of these tips:
- Is the organization on Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 or other national lists for their diversity policies and programs? What are the criteria for making the list?
- Can you find a diversity philosophy or policy on their website?
- Are there any programs or resources for employees focused around issues of concern or for you? For example, Marriott’s diversity and inclusion councils.
- What do others (for example: peers, alumni, current employees) say about the organizational culture? Keep in mind that every opinion, good or bad, may come with some amount of bias.
How to Handle Workplace Discrimination
Workforce discrimination occurs in many ways. There are federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy, and age. Employers are responsible for complying with the law, but you are responsible for making sure you know and protect your rights.
Illegal Interview Questions
Did you know that it is against the law for employers to ask you certain questions in a job interview? To learn more about what topics are off-limits and what to do if you are asked about them, see “Handling improper interview questions.”
Discrimination in the workplace
If you experience discrimination once you have started a job, here are some tips and information about dealing with employment discrimination.
Job and Internship Resources
Workforce Recruitment Program — WRP connects undergraduate, graduate students and recent graduates with disabilities who are interested paid internships and full-time opportunities to private sector employers and federal agencies.
Bender Consulting assists individuals with disabilities in getting hired and recruited for positions within the private and public sector.
Lime Connect — Lime Connect assists student with scholarships, professional development webinars along with information about internships and full-time job opportunities.
American Association for Advancement of the Sciences Entry Point is a program that offers internship opportunities for students with disabilities. Internships range in discipline from computer science, business to science and engineering.
disABLEd Person, Inc. — Great resource for job listings and scholarship information.
The National Business and Disability Council at the Viscardi Center provides students with internship and leadership development opportunities.
The American Association of People with Disabilities provides a Congressional Internship Program for college students with disabilities. It’s open to undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to recent grads.
Great With Disability — Their mission is to ensure that having a disability or long-term health condition doesn’t prevent anyone from having the career that they want to have. Not only does it want disabled individuals to realize their career ambitions, it also wants employers to benefit from the unique talents and strengths that disabled individuals can, and do, bring to an organization.
The Sierra Group — one stop shop for disability training recruiting and other career needs.
Federal Jobs Net — helps disabled individuals find federal government employment.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — consult the “Job Seekers with Disabilities” link for a variety of resources.
Ability Links — job opportunity website for people with disabilities.
Hire Disability Solutions — job opportunity website for people with disabilities and employers seeking to recruit them.
Professional Organizations and Associations
Most professional associations offer student memberships at a discount, and memberships usually come with access to programs such as speaker events and job fairs.
- American Foundation for the Blind
- U.S. Business Leadership Network
- Association for Higher Education and Disability
- American Association of People with Disabilities
- National Organization on Disability
- National Business & Disability Council
- Job Accommodation Network — JAN has information on job accommodations and additional resources.
- Office of Disability and Employment Policy — Provides articles and resources on national leadership focused on disability and employment policy.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Titles I and V — specific information on employment discrimination laws.
- Respect Ability — source for news, education and other resources regarding issues facing people with disabilities.